Numerical study on signatures of atmospheric convective cells in radar images of the ocean

Susanne Ufermann, Roland Romeiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Current and wind variations at the ocean surface can give rise to a modulation of the sea surface roughness and thus become visible in radar images. The discrimination between radar signatures of oceanic and atmospheric phenomena can be quite difficult, since signatures of different origin can have very similar shapes and magnitudes and are often superimposed upon each other. In this work we employ a numerical radar imaging model for an investigation of typical properties of radar signatures of atmospheric convective cells and of theoretical differences between such atmospherically induced radar signatures and those of oceanic phenomena. We show that main characteristics of observed multifrequency/multipolarization radar signatures of atmospheric convective cells over the Gulf Stream are reproduced quite well by the proposed model. This encourages us to vary wind and radar parameters systematically in order to get a general overview of the dependency of atmospherically induced radar signatures on these parameters. Finally, we compare typical characteristics of radar signatures of atmospheric and oceanic phenomena, and we present simulated radar images of a scenario of superimposed atmospheric convective cells and oceanic internal waves. We show that the proposed model supports the experimental finding that radar signatures of oceanic phenomena are stronger at horizontal (HH) than at vertical (VV) polarization, while atmospherically induced radar signatures are better visible at VV polarization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1999JC900224
Pages (from-to)25707-25719
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue numberC11
StatePublished - Nov 15 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Oceanography


Dive into the research topics of 'Numerical study on signatures of atmospheric convective cells in radar images of the ocean'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this